D SOLUf TONS *m THE GROUND Uf •
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Balancing the budget on the
backs of the poor -p. 2
Near North housing project raises
complex questions -p.
A voucher that leads to a home
Student's interview with Street
man makes a big impact -p. 5
On My Corner - Meet
Vendor Eddy -p. 6
By the highways and By the
Pound Jl -p. 7
Infamous Nazi image connects
with Ann Arbor family
Write after Breatkfast at
St. Andrew's r-p. 11
Street Buzz - ABCs of Scrabble
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Groundcover News exists to create
opportunity and a voice for
low-income people while taking
action to end homelessness and
Susan Beckett, Publisher
Laurie Lounsbury, Editor
David KE Dodge
Karen L. Totten
Letters to the Editor:
Story or Photo Submissions:
Ads and Classified Ads
423 S. 4th Ave, Ann Arbor
Cutting the budget on the
backs of the poor
As all levels of government prepare to slash
services and reduce income supplements,
Groundcover volunteers are working to
expand capacity to meet the anticipated
rise in people teetering on the edge.
The plan is to expand into other down-
town areas and major corridors. Thanks to
the enterprising initiative of our vendors,
especially Tony, we are now selling in
downtown Ypsilanti and several Ypsilanti
churches, in addition to our Ann Arbor
Among the expected budget savings meas-
ures most likely to hurt local residents, is
the elimination of the state and federal
earned income tax credit (EITC), which
returns several thousand tax dollars to
workers whose earnings are below the
poverty level. Adding to the pain for low
income families, the cuts to Head Start
and the slashes to the Child Care Devel-
opment Block Grant contained in the
U.S. House budget will cost over 8,000
Michigan children their preschool experi-
ence and impact twice as many in the loss
of child care subsidies. Many parents will
likely find they spend more in child care
than they net in income. What is a single
parent to do?
According to the Center for Law and So-
cial Policy, more than 44% of Michigan
children lived in low income families in
2009 - that's well over one million chil-
dren. Half of those children are considered
poor. Those numbers will certainly swell
as the several hundred Head Start teachers
and child care workers join the ranks of
the unemployed and income supports dis-
Few current Groundcover vendors have
children at home, and selling newspapers
on the street does not lend itself to caring
for young children. This is a dilemma we
will have to face as a community and ad-
dress creatively, knowing there is no gov-
ernment aid forthcoming - unless the
drastic House cuts are reduced or elimi-
nated by the Senate.
Be Not Afraid part 2
by Rev. Dr. Martha A.
Brunell Pastor, Bethlehem
United Church of Christ
Shortly after I wrote my Feb-
ruary column for Ground-
Coven I discovered a
wonderful quote by Joan Chit-
tister. Joan is a sister in a Bene-
dictine community in Erie,
Penn. Her writing, speaking,
and clear, courageous stands
are treasured in religious and
spiritual communities around
the globe. Chittister has writ-
ten: Be not afraid to speak. Be
afraid what will happen to the
whole truth if you don't. As a
result of the comments and the
quote, I decided to approach
Be Not Afraid from another
As our snowy winter moves
forward into March, I recall a
profound moment of being
unafraid to speak on March
21, 1965. That day 46 years
ago, the four-day civil rights
march from Selma to Mont-
gomery, Ala. began. At the
head of the march were many
truth-tellers walking arm-in-
arm. Among them were Mar-
tin Luther King Jr. and Rabbi
Abraham Heschel. These two
men, one a black man whose
childhood was spent in At-
lanta, Georgia, and the other, a
Jewish man whose childhood
was spent in Warsaw, Poland,
knew what it was like to be de-
nied full civil rights and to be
oppressed and threatened at
every turn. They also both had
parents who were committed
to affirming in severely limited
and dangerous settings that
Martin and Abraham were
beloved by God and as
good as anyone else. The
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617 S* Main Street
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differences between Martin
and Abraham were obvious.
They didn't share race, reli-
gion, or origins. Their com-
mon truth was equally
powerful and was there to be
spoken in what they said and
did. They were as good as any-
one else. Truth was bigger than
the familiar fears swirling
around their prior experiences.
Many took issue with who
they were and what they said
and did. The truth was theirs
to speak individually and to-
gether. It expanded beyond all
opposition and danger. And
so, they were not afraid to
speak with their mouths and
with their legs. Abraham is
quoted as saying to Martin
that day "I feel like my legs are
Letter to the Editor
Vaccines still the be
Thanks so much for covering
the Global Alliance for Vac-
cines and Immunizations. You
may take some heat in Ann
Arbor for your pro-vaccine
stand, but the science behind
vaccine safety is better than for
any other class of medicine,
with over 25 studies, including
the largest study ever done on
any medicine, showing that
vaccines are safe, and no study
published showing significant
risk from vaccines. Their neces-
sity has been highlighted this
year by the local pertussis
(whooping cough) epidemic,
There is many a truth to be
told about homelessness here
in Washtenaw County. It is
truth we can encourage in one
another. It underlines the real-
ity we are all as good as one
another. Groundcover listens
for and amplifies voices that
others would prefer to dismiss.
There is truth in these
monthly pages; it can be scary
to both writers and readers.
But it is truth that has been
given to each of us to utter be-
P.S. There is a beautiful chil-
dren's book, As Good As Any-
body, by Richard Michelson,
about the remarkable friend-
ship between Martin Luther
King Jr. and Rabbi Abraham
Heschel and their collaborative
telling of the truth.
present here in Washtenaw
County, but much less severe
in neighboring counties with
higher overall vaccination rates.
As a local pediatrician, it has
broken my heart to see so
many babies, as well as a cou-
ple of grandmothers, suffer
needlessly from this preventa-
ble disease. Keep up your good
work for our community, espe-
cially our most vulnerable pop-
Near North housing project raises complex questions
by Christopher Alexander
The struggle to build an affordable hous-
ing project called "Near North" under-
scores an important question for our
community: Should society subsidize low
income affordable housing developments
in an effort to create racial or economic di-
Groundbreaking on this low-income hous-
ing development, located on North Main
Street, is expected to take place early this
spring. The roughly $15 million project is
a partnership between Avalon Housing and
local land developer, Three Oaks Group.
It takes a complicated assortment of local,
state, federal and private investments to fi-
nance a project like this, which is why
building affordable housing can be chal-
lenging even in relatively prosperous com-
munities such as Ann Arbor.
"There hasn't been any affordable housing
of any density built in the central down-
town for many, many years " Bill Godfrey,
a partner at Three Oaks said. "There's a
reason for that.
"It's because it's very difficult to find a lo-
cation that isn't so expensive that it rules
out the possibility of building affordable
housing. We view this as an achievement.
If building affordable housing were easy,
we would have solved the housing crisis a
long time ago."
Near North will be located on N. Main
St., south of Summit Street. Currently the
site contains eight condemned houses that
will be demolished to make room for the
Avalon Housing is a Washtenaw County
. nonprofit that has worked in the commu-
nity to develop and manage affordable
housing for almost 20 years. Avalon's direc-
tor, Michael Appel, has been involved with
low income housing during that nearly two
"From our perspective," Appel said, "we
were asked to join in a project that could
provide affordable housing in a location
that Avalon would not be able to develop
on its own.
"We have multiple partners, with both
public subsidy and private investment. The
end result will both benefit the North
Main entrance to Ann Arbor, the commu-
nity and its residents."
Currently, Avalon maintains 23 properties
with 324 separate units. Near North will
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This party store on North Main Street will be torn down to make room for the Near North subsidized housing project, which will break ground this spring.
add 31 units to their portfolio. Avalon s
tenants typically earn less than 30 percent
of the area median income. Also, they've
normally specialized in what's termed 'sup-
portive housing.' A sizable portion of Near
Norths units are specifically designated as
"Supportive housing is the combination of
non-profit affordable housing operation
and the availability of flexible, individual-
ized support services for tenants with spe-
cial needs," according to their website.
"Across the country, supportive housing is
proving to be the single most effective so-
lution to homelessness for individuals and
families who, in addition to being home-
less, are working to manage mental and
The Avalon/Three Oaks partnership hit a
major hurdle when the neighborhoods
local homeowner's group, the North Cen-
tral Property Owners Association, raised an
objection to the scale of the development.
The homeowners association protested
that the original plan for a five-story struc-
ture with a mix of 61 one- and two-bed-
room units, as well as some commercial
and office space, violated the character of
"This is perhaps one of the most diverse
neighborhoods in the city," said an associa-
tion member and adjoining property
owner who did not want to be named. "In
its more than 50 year history, the group
has supported a variety of new housing op-
tions and rehab projects and has a strong
legacy and belief in welcoming low income
and supportive housing in the neighbor-
"Avalon currently manages a number of
small scale supportive housing units here,
and does a great job," the homeowner said.
"We were excited to have more low income
and supportive housing in our neighbor-
hood. So it was with great regret that in
the spring of 2009, we felt we had no op-
tion but to oppose the project, due to its
"We felt the building would destroy the
human scale and tree-lined greenbelt entry
into Ann Arbor and replace it with an
oversized, institutional structure that
would foster isolation from the neighbor-
Godfrey said that negotiations between the
joint venture and the neighborhood went
on for about a year.
Near North needed an exemption and spe-
cial zoning approval, called a Planned Unit
Development, to build. The PUD approval
allowed the site to be a mixed use develop-
see NEAR NORTH, back page
Ground co v e r Vendors Code
of Groundcover News.
While Groundcover News is a
nonprofit organization, and
newspaper vendors are consid-
ered contracted self-ernphyers,
we still have expectations of how
vendors should conduct them-
selves while selling and repre-
senting the paper.
Every vendor reads and signs
the code of conduct before re-
ceiving a badge and papers.
We request that if you dis-
cover a vendor violating any
tenets of the Code, please con-
tact us and provide as many
details as possible. Our papei
and pur vendors should be
positively impacting our
All vendors must agree to the
following code of conduct:
• Groundcover News will be
distributed for a voluntary do-
nation of $1. I agree not to
ask for more than a dollar or
solicit donations by any other
• I understand that I am not a
• I will only sell current issues legal employee of Ground-
If you see any Groundcover News vendors not ab
conduct, please report the activity to: contacted
• I agree not to sell additional
goods or products when sell-
ing the paper or to panhandle,
including panhandling with
only one paper.
• I will wear and display my
badge when selling papers.
• I will only purchase the
paper from Groundcover
News Staff and will not sell to
or buy papers from other
Groundcover News vendors,
especially vendors who have
been suspended or terminated,
• I agree to treat all customers,
staff, and other vendors,
respectfully. I will not "hard
sell," threaten, harass or pres-
sure customers, staff, or other
vendors verbally or physically.
• I will not sell Groundcover
News under the influence of
drugs or alcohol.
cover News but a contracted
worker responsible for my
own well-being and income.
• I understand that my badge
is property of Groundcover
News and will not deface it. I
will present my badge when
purchasing the papers.
• I agree to stay off private
property when selling
• I understand to refrain from
selling on public buses, federal
property or stores unless there
is permission from the owner.
• I agree to stay at least one
block away from another ven-
dor. I will also abide by the
Vendor corner policy.
• I understand that Ground-
cover strives to be a paper that
covers topics of homelessness
and poverty while providing
sources of income for the
homeless. I will try to help in
this effort and spread the
iding by the code of
A voucher that leads to a home jz
Particularly for people who've
by Carolyn Lusch
For years the federal government re-
sponded to the problem of homelessness
by creating neighborhoods of concen-
trated low-income housing commonly
known as "projects." One need not look far
locally to find remnants of this strategy;
the current Woodbridge Estates in Detroit
sit on the land that used to hold the Jeffries
Housing Project. This notorious site typi-
fied the failed housing project: unsafe, in
disrepair, and controlled by drug dealers
and gangs. Regardless of outside factors for
this decay, it added to the specters of urban
uprisings throughout the country in the
late 1960s and spurred the government to
seek a different strategy for confronting
urban homelessness. In 1974, the Section
8 program was created under President
Nixon, and since then it has become the
foundation of the federal governments ef-
forts to confront homelessness.
Project and Tenant Based Vouchers
The Section 8 program involves two kinds
of vouchers: tenant-based and project-
based. Project-based vouchers are contracts
given to organizations such as Avalon
Housing, a non-profit that develops and
manages supportive rental housing in
Washtenaw County. These vouchers stay
with specific building projects to ensure
that units will be affordable as tenants
move in and out. Some units at Avalon's
Pear Street Apartments benefit from these
vouchers, and the Near North Develop-
ment, now in planning stage, will have a
project-based contract for fourteen of its
Tenant-based Section. 8 vouchers are ad-
ministered by the Ann Arbor Housing
Commission (AAHC) in Washtenaw,
Western Wayne, and Monroe counties.
These vouchers assist individuals with any
housing they choose that meets program
requirements. Applications for the waiting
list are accepted every two to four years,
and applicants who are accepted must seek
out a landlord willing to take the voucher.
For David, who has had a Section 8
voucher for two years, the wait was a little
over six years between the time he applied
and the time he was accepted for a
voucher. He brushed the time off, however,
saying that he's known people who have
waited much longer. Eddy is one of these,
who waited seventeen years to get on the
waitlist. However, once there, he found the
process of applying and finding housing
But getting a voucher is by no means easy.
Michael Appel, associate director of Avalon
Housing, agrees that obtaining a voucher is
"absolutely a long process." There are a
number of different administering agents,
including AAHC and Veteran s Affairs, and
the waiting lists are closed most of the
time. One local applicant waited seventeen
years to get on the waiting list."
Julie Steiner, director of the Washtenaw
Housing Alliance, said, "That's not because
of the program, it's because of budgets."
She believes that the program itself works
very well, but that Washington politics
have prevented her organization from re-
ceiving adequate funding.
"We haven't gotten a new allocation of
vouchers in a very long time. When vouch-
ers do open, it's because somebody who
had a voucher lost their voucher entide-
Steiner is concerned about changes in
funding that may come with the 2012 fed-
eral budget. President Obamas proposal
would cut $350 million in funding for
Community Development Block Grants,
which can be used for shelters and low-in-
come housing. "We know we don't have
enough affordable housing," Steiner said.
"When they cut the federal budget, it's
going to get worse."
The Veterans Affairs' Housing
and Urban Development- Vet-
erans Affairs Supportive Hous-
ing (HUD-VASH) program
provides rental assistance and
case management for homeless
veterans in the Ann Arbor area.
Eligible veterans are identified
through homeless outreach so- 1
cial workers, referred by the VAj
staffs and assisted in the appli-
cation process. The VA also works closely
with the Ann Arbor Housing Commission
to train veterans and work with them to
find appropriate housing.
The Ann Arbor VA follows the Critical
Time Intervention model to help veterans
successfully transition into housing. This a
three-stage process in which VA workers
assist veterans in establishing support net-
works and advocate on their behalf with
landlords and neighbors. The agency also
helps these veterans develop daily living
skills, such as cleaning, cooking, grocery
shopping, decorating, and money manage-
Although part of the Section 8 program,
HUD-VASH serves some people that the
regular Section 8 cannot, including sex of-
fenders and people who owe money to the
Federal Housing Administration.
Shawn Dowling is program supervisor for
the Ann Arbor HUD-VASH. Dowling ac-
knowledges that the vouchers are "like
pennies from heaven" - the number of
vouchers they have available is determined
entirely by the federal government. How-
ever, she believes that ending veteran
homelessness is a high priority for the cur-
rent administration and the Secretary of
The Section 8 Difference
Steiner believes that the difficulty of Sec-
tion 8 lies in the funding, not in the pro-
gram itself. "Particularly for people who ve
been homeless, getting a Section 8
voucher is the most effective way to
keep people from falling back into
- Julie Steiner, Director of
the Washtenaw Housing Alliance
been homeless, getting a Section 8 voucher
is the most effective way to keep people
from falling back into homelessness again."
The life-changing potential of Section 8 is
something Dowling has witnessed on the
job. She tells the story of a veteran who
lived in Ann Arbor s tent city for three
years before the VA helped him to get Sec-
tion 8 housing. Once in his apartment, the
neighbors and landlord worried for him
because he spent every night on the bal-
cony. Despite this initial fear of the transi-
tion, he is now living comfortably in his
new abode and is proud of his success.
"That's the miracle of these vouchers," says
Both Eddy and David found greater free-
dom after transitioning from public hous-
ing to section 8 housing. Once in the
section 8 program, David was able to
choose to live in a senior citizens' apart-
ment, which is an environment in which
he feels more comfortable. Eddy experi-
enced deteriorating comfort and safety in
public housing, before he was able to move
to section 8 housing. When the other ten-
ants in that apartment building became
too loud, he realized he could move to a
place that suited him better. "I have section
8 now. I have choices." Eddy now has a
good home with a nice backyard, trees,
and access to different parts of town, and
looks back on his transition as a tale of sur-
Vendor Rissa believes faith can conquer despair
As Susan Beckett has penned, I am an in-
curable optimist whose philosophy of life
takes a positive oudook at everything. As I
opine, I am challenged at every point on
the spectrum of life to make lemonade out
of the lemons. Although we cannot control
what happens to us, we can control how
we respond to what happens to us. Per-
spectives are reality for the individual. If
you see the events of life as an obstacle or
an opportunity, you're right either way
How about despair? That is a perspective.
However, it is a perspective that can be
overridden by the "higher power." In my
perspective, the person who is in despair
still has hope. Consider this writing:
DESPAIR by Robert Hoepner
Her boyfriend broke up with her. Her Mom
caught her shoplifting. Life was not worth
living as far as she was concerned. To the top
of the fire escape she climbed. She jumped,
but her suicide attempt failed. She lives with
a broken body.
Despair overwhelms. Disappointment and
shame extinguishes hope. Alcohol and drugs
cannot remove the problem, they only mag-
nify it. What about running away? We cannot
escape from our problems. Despair takes on
many forms of self destruction.
Is there help? Kind people are hard to find
who support the wounded. Few are so fortu-
nate as to have merciful friends. But there is
a Friend. He is near, merciful, and able to
help. We would befools if we did not call on
Him. This Friend is Jesus Christ, Gods one
and only Son. He knows humiliation! He
carried our sins to the cross so that we dont
have to suffer despair. Christ is our hope, our
life, and our salvation.
Despair happens, but with Jesus we can han-
dle it. The girl who tried to commit suicide
knows Jesus now and therefore has hope. I
pray that you do too.
I have experienced many reasons not to
believe, but by holding onto hope, I have
not been disappointed. Do you suppose
see Rissa, page 6
THINK ABOUT IT
Student learns about life through homeless interview
Savannah Arindaeng was assigned to inter-
view someone of local or personal significance
for her American History class. She chose to
tell the story of one of Ann Arbors homeless
people. Says Savannah, "Meeting with
Gwidian Storm provided me with a window
into a world I want to know more about. It
occurred to me that many people are only a
few life choices away from finding themselves
in a similar circumstance. "
— Peter Scherer, history teacher,
Rudolph Steiner High School
by Savannah Arindaeng
After approaching this man and saying
hello, I asked if I could talk to him for a
moment. He said, "Of course." I then
asked if I could sit down with him; he wel-
comed a discussion. I explained my as-
signment, showed him the letter from my
teacher, and offered to take him to lunch.
He said he had already eaten, but any
money would be very much appreciated.
Q: What is your name?
A: My name is Gwidian Storm. Uh, I got
it at a Vision Quest actually, and it is my
real name now because that's the name I
use all the time.
Q: How long have you lived in Ann
A: Um, I got here, uh, like two days before
art fair started. I've been traveling, hitch-
hiking, homeless, on the road, for over
twenty-one years. I've been from one
ocean to the other and back five times. I'm
likin Ann Arbor a lot! I'm happy to be
Q: Do you want to talk about how you
got in this situation?
A: Well, uh, I... I started out twenty-one
years ago just basically wantin' to be an old
school hippie, you know, and I met some
people and started traveling, and you know
by the time I was turnin thirty, . .1 couldn't
get out of it anymore. I started tryin' to
settle down and get a job. . .but, you know,
I've got mental problems which I'm
workin'. . .workin' with court right now.
Uh my psychiatrist says I have chronic de-
pression and uh, uh... a personality disor-
der, and basically what that means is that
I've been fired from every job I've ever had.
So at this point nobody really wants to hire
me. So, uh. . .you know there's not a whole
lot out there for un-skilled labor, which is
what I am. . . So here I am.
Q: What kinds of jobs have you had pre-
A: I've had every kind of shit job you can
possibly imagine, from pumpin' gas to
workin' in a nuclear power plant.
Q: You seem to have had a really hard, but
interesting life. What's the happiest mo-
ment of your life that you can remember?
A: Hmm. . . I'd have to say that would be
when I fell in love. But, that would be also
followed the unhappiest moment of my
life. . .when she didn't.
Q: When was that?
A: Back in 2006. And, that's really about
all I really wanna say about that.
Q: Did you go to college?
A: I did a couple semesters of college.
Flunked out because for the first time in
my life I had a social life, which I didn't in
high school, and I got distracted, and
Q: Where were you born?
A: Columbus, Ohio.
Q: When you were a kid, was school ever
an issue for you or was it just a normal
A: Well, basically. . . the schoolwork wasn't
the problem. I was actually bored with the
academic work. The problem was socializ-
ing. I was raised as an only child and I just
don't really get along with other people
Q: When you were a child, what did you
think you were going to be doing at this
point in your life?
A: Oh I don't know. I figured I'd be an as-
tronaut, or somethin' stupid.
Q: What kind of relationship did you
have with your parents?
A: I was actually raised by my. . . by a foster
mother. Uh, the woman who birthed me
was kind of abusive and so was her
boyfriend. My natural father was an alco-
holic and couldn't take care of me, so he
asked a friend of his to raise me., .and she
did. And, you know, it was a typical rela-
tionship with parents, except 'my primary
parental figure was old enough to be my
grandparent. So, other than that, it was
Qj Are you still in contact with her at
A: Oh no. She's dead!
Q: What are you're most proud of in
A: Hmmm. (Pause) that's a tough ques-
tion. Guess I'd have to say the
mileage. . .that's about it.
Q: What's the most amazing place you've
A: Oh Grand Mesa, Colorado! Uh, there
was one night that I was there - there was a
lunar eclipse, there was a double
rainbow around the moon, and I
had a sheet and a half of acid in
me so . . . [laughs] It was pretty
Q: Everyone has regrets. Do
you have any regrets that really
stand out, or moments that you
really wish you could just take
A: Oh too many things to list -
too many things to list and I'd
rather not talk about them.
Q: What is one of the most im-
portant lessons you've learned?
A: That it's all about perspective.
Never think you know every-
thing cuz when you shift to
somebody else's point of
view. . .it's all different.
Q: Have you ever wanted to have a fam-
ily or kids of your own?
A: I've thought about it a lot, but, uhh re-
ally, I'm not cut out to be a dad. I, I'd
rather not raise children. They might end
up as screwed up as I am.
Q: What kind of social circle were you
part of as a kid?
A: Well mostly, I was hangin' by myself. I
didn't really have too many friends when I
was a kid.
Q: When were you born?
Q: What do you think your future
holds? Do you see yourself just traveling
for the rest of your life?
A: Well uh, hopefully I see myself getting a
disability check, and a Section 8 health
somewhere here in Ann Arbor. And, I'd
like to settle down here, and you know,
just try to learn how to be a regular con-
Q: When in your life have you felt the
A: Hmm. I'm never alone really. I mean,
even. . .even though I'm alone, I'm not.
You know, God is always with me. So, I've
never been completely alone.
Q: Who has been the kindest to you in
A: Um. . .the people who give me money. I
mean, you know. . .there are kind people
everywhere, but I mean... kindest? Who is
to say? You know?
Q: Who had the biggest influence on
A: Probably my second mom. She was uh,
the leader of a lesbian, pagan, folk band
that, uh, I hooked up with. I was already
off and on for like 10 years, and she taught
me a lot, about growin' up, and having re-
sponsibility, and that sort of thing.
Q: Where do you go at night?
A: I have a tent down by the river.
Q: And when it's really cold in the win-
ter? And when it's snowing?
A: I'll still be in the tent by the river.
Q: When you're in one spot, like you are
now in Ann Arbor, what do you usually
do during the day?
A: Well, uh, I spend part of the time beg-
gin', I spend part of the time hangin' out
with other street people, and you know,
when we got some beer, or some whiskey
or some weed, then we'll sneak off and do
that! Yeah, mostly it's pretty boring. It's all
about, you know, either makin' money, or
spendin' money, tryin to have a good time.
Q: Have you ever felt like you just didn't
want to go on anymore?
A: Well yeah, yeah. I mean, like I said, I
do have chronic depression, and the only
thing that keeps me from being suicidal is,
I know that I'm not allowed to die without
permission. God said so. . .1 believe her.
Q: How do you want to be remembered?
A: I'll be happy if I just got a grave with a
tree on it. A successful life in my opinion
is an obscure life. Nobody says anything
bad about dead people they never heard of.
Q: Are there any other words of advice,
A: Hmm. . .words of advice or wisdom?
Don't spit into the wind.
Q: [Laughs] I'll definitely remember
ON MY CORNER
usic, art and a corrections career for vendor Eddy
by Susan Beckett
The mellow strains of his guitar have sere-
naded passers-by at Liberty and Fourth Av-
enue for years, but now Eddy is more often
seen with his stack of Groundcover papers.
His winning smile and easy-going disposi-
tion charm all those who stop and listen.
His lithe figure belies his middle age years
but reflects his pastimes of running and ex-
Born and raised in Ann Arbor, Eddy at-
tended Slauson Middle School and gradu-
ated from Pioneer High School in 1989.
He fondly recalls singing in the choir and
taking guitar class under the direction of
Mr. Westerman, and also taking some
piano classes. He was also assigned a life
coach at Pioneer to help him organize and
manage his finances.
Upon graduation, Eddys life coach helped
him get section 8 housing at a low-income
complex but he found it a terrifying place
to live. During the 17 years he lived there
he witnessed three stabbings, one of which
would have been fatal had Eddy not called
911. Drug dealers and rapists were among
his neighbors and Eddy was anxious to
find a better place to live. Finally, he re-
ceived a section 8 voucher, then spoke to
the landlord of a nice, safe complex and
convinced him to accept the voucher.
Eddy works steadily, always for at least five
years in each job, often working two jobs
at a time. He currently does janitorial
work part-time for the county and works
security at a downtown club. He attended
Washtenaw Community College (WCC)
on a loan arranged through the college.
He pursued criminal studies and com-
pleted quite a few courses but failed one
class. That resulted in a $700 bill from
WCC with interest accumulating. Though
Eddy is eligible for another loan, he says he
will never take out another.
His security work piqued his interest in
corrections and he would like to return to
WCC and get his associates degree in that,
for which he needs about 40 credits.
Rissa has experienced
reasons not to believe, but
she holds on anyway
continued from page 4
the girl who thought she wanted to end
tier life is now disappointed that her sui-
cide plans failed? I think not, because she
now has opportunity to live life to the
fullest and really appreciate the joys of a
good relationship. She can now see that a
better relationship was waiting for her. If
her boyfriend had not broken up with
her, she would not have been available to
receive and appreciate the good friendship
in a better and more nurturing and
healthy relationship environment. Had
she not felt the agony of shame of getting
caught shoplifting, she would not have
been able to enjoy the beauty of mercy,
grace, and forgiveness. It is the benefit of
grace, mercy, and forgiveness that teaches
us to correct our mistakes and make bet-
ter choices for better and greater conse-
Hope can change perspectives to create
more positive outlooks. This is the dy-
namic that occurs when you believe you
can: ideas on how to accomplish "it"
flourish. Conversely, if you think you can-
not, reasons why you should fail bombard
your brain. Hope does make a difference.
I am challenged everyday to think on
whatever is true, right, and of Good Re-
pute - to see the silver lining in every
cloud. How about you? Do you have
some clouds that need to have the silver
Take on the Challenge!
Let s see if a silver lining can be found in
Write Rissa at:
Though he hopes for a
Pell grant, he is working
and saving as much as
he can so he can hope-
fully afford the tuition
on his own someday.
During his time at
WCC, Eddy played jazz
guitar in the Jazz Band
with Johnny Lawrence.
Since then he has
recorded 2 CDs and
may form a band this
summer. His work can
be previewed on the web
by going to the site "cd-
baby.com" and searching
for "Edward Pow." He
also excelled in a class on
Art Theory. He puts his drawing talent to
use doing caricatures in the summer.
Vendor Eddy, a talented musician who aspires to
a career in corrections
been a great addition to the Groundcover
family and he is so grateful to his loyal cus-
This hardworking and congenial man has
Bethlehem United Church of Christ
423 S. Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(between William and Packard)
www.bethlehem-ucc.org (734) 665-6149
Bethlehem Church is the home of the Groundcover office.
8:30 am ~ Choir Rehearsal
8:30 am and 10:00 am r Worship
9:00 am ~ Confirmation Class
10:00 am ~ Church School
10:00 am ~ Young Adult Forum
11:30 am ~ Youth Fellowship
March 9 ~ Ash Wednesday Worship and Study ~ 7:30 pm
March 13/11:30 am or March 14/11:00 am ~ Book Study
Wednesday Night Study Sessions on Spiritual Practice:
March 16, 23, 30, April 6, and 13 at 7:30 pm
March 19 ~ Gospelf est ~ 7:00 pm
March 20 ~ Fresh produce collection for Food Gatherers
March 22 ~ Applebee's Fundraiser ~ all day
March 21 to 27 ~ Men's Rotation Shelter
an invitation to grow in spirit and serve with joy
From around the world to By the Pound
by Susan Beckett
Behind the placid friendly face of Glenn
Bourland, owner of By The Pound, is a
man whose wildly shifting life belies the
stability evident in his bulk foods store.
Perhaps his adventures attuned him to lis-
tening closely . Its tricky in a place like By
the Pound where there is only one register
and customers are accustomed to breezing
though. Still, Glenn tries hard to listen to
customers, especially about what he should
"I have almost 200 spices now and people
love the spices. They're fresh and they're
inexpensive," Bourland crows. His selec-
tion of teas is also very popular and he sells
a lot of bulk coffee, including Ann Arbor's
Roos Roast. Customers claim the red pop-
corn from Ann Arbor's Bur Oaks Farm is
the best they have ever tasted. It is the ter-
rific selection of bulk Callebaut chocolate
that often draws this writer to the store.
Whenever possible, Bourland buys local.
He credits the popularity of the nuts he
sells to their exquisite freshness, roasted
weekly by Rocky Peanut of Detroit. Cus-
tomers frequendy tell him that By the
Pound is their favorite store because of the
quality and the opportunity to buy exactly
how much they want. It is onebf the few
places in town where the ingredients for a
nourishing meal for one can be purchased
for a dollar.
The economic downturn has actually
spurred business. "Liquor, fast food and
By the Pound do better in a bad economy,"
quips Bourland. Hes learned that people
are doing more cooking and baking for
themselves and for others as gifts, and they
come to him purchase their basic ingredi-
ents in bulk.
But how did a boy who grew up in the
Santa Cruz area and attended the Univer-
sity of Hawaii on a golf scholarship come
to be the proprietor of such a store in Ann
Arbor, Michigan? It s the tale of a man
finding himself again and again, and it
began when he dropped out of college after
three years because he didn t know where
he was going.
He returned to California where he
worked as a phone clerk on the Pacific
Stock Exchange and soon yearned to be a
trader. He bartered golf lessons for train-
ing and financial backing as an options
trader-broker. Six months later he was on
the floor trading. Three lucrative years he
Glenn Bourland, owner of By the Pound, in front of his extensive spice racks
i was ready for another change and set off to
bicycle around the world.
He and his friend Glen (with one n') set
out for the East coast. As they passed
through Death Valley, they found a Japan-
ese tourist stretched out at the side of the
road, overcome with thirst. He had set
out with insufficient water, unaware of the
extreme heat and aridity. They rehydrated
him and escorted him to a town, then con-
tinued on their dusty way.
Near dusk they stumbled on what ap-
peared to be a ranger s house in the vicinity
of the campground they had ridden five,
uphill and very hot miles looking for.
Lured by a hose with water, they started
cleaning themselves off, but within min-
utes they were naked and dancing like chil-
dren in a sprinkler. They gratefully set up
camp on the scrubby lawn and fell into a
deep sleep from which they were violently
aroused at midnight by an indignant assis-
tant park ranger, incensed that they were
camping on the head rangers lawn. He
threw their things in his truck and relo-
cated them to the gravel parking lot that
passed for a campground in that area.
Once he left, the Glens burst out laughing,
thinking, "What he would have done if he
had seen them a few hours earlier!"
Later in the trip, a violent lightning storm
engulfed them while they tried to reach a
small New Mexico mesa town. Riding
feverishly against the driving rain, the
Glens watched a cactus explode from a
lightning hit a mere 100 yards away.
After ten minutes of hell, they rode into an
old abandoned mining town There was
only one public space and that was a tough
looking cowboy bar. In they sauntered,
clad in wet, form fitting biker shorts.
With all eyes upon on them, they retreated
to the mens room to dry off and change
into dry clothes and were soon barked at,
"Hey, cut it short in there!"
After quietly finding a few places at the
end of the bar, the other Glen went to call
his San Francisco girlfriend, on the pay
phone. Slowly the conversation in the bar
died and everyone could hear Glen moan-
ing, "Oh Rosie, I love you, Rosie. You
know I miss you Rosie," and so on. When
Glen hung up, the room went completely
silent. Then the bar filled with a cacoph-
ony of "Oh Rosie, I love you, Rosie. I miss
you, Rosie!" The Glens hustled out and
found an abandoned house with broken
window glass on the floor that proved a
more comfortable place for them to crash
and wait out the storm.
By the time they reached the East Coast,
Glen missed Rosie too much to continue.
Glenn hiked solo along the east coast but
found that, although he loved seeing the
country by bicycle and talking with people
along the way, it lost its luster without a
companion with whom to share such ob-
servations. He shipped his bike home and
took off backpacking through Europe and
In Europe Glenn visited Spain, France,
Germany, Austria, Holland, England,
Scotland, Wales and Ireland, meeting and
travelling with people from numerous na-
tions. His fondest memories are the times
he spent with the Australians and New
Zealanders at the Octoberfest in Germany.
"Those guys and girls really knew how to
A tall, pale man, Glenn really stood out in
China, especially while he was accompa-
nied by a former girlfriend, a 5' 10" Jr.
Olympic swimmer and swimsuit model.
This was 1985, and China had only been
open to tourists for a few years. They were
okay as long as they didn t stop. Once,
Glenn paused to watch a street musician
playing and within a minute there were 50
to 100 people watching Glenn watch the
Chinese customer service was eye-opening.
The counters were four deep with people
waiting to be served and if you didn't push
forward, you never got a turn. He went
once to a 15 story hotel, with 30 rooms to
a floor, and asked for a room. The clerk
told him it was full. As he headed out
through the lobby, an Aussie called to him,
"You just have to wait him out. This place
is nearly empty. I'm the only one on my
floor." Glenn returned to the desk every
15 minutes and was told, "All full," until
an hour and a half later when the clerk re-
marked, "A room opened up." Glenn was
the only occupant on that floor.
He reflected that at that time, all Chinese
took at test at age 17 that determined their
futures. They were told what job they
would have for life based on those test re-
sults. Some women were assigned the job
of sweeping the freeways, a terrifying
prospect in a city like Beijing where there
were 30,000 car accidents each year. Glenn
surmised that the clerk had not wanted the
job he was assigned and was desperate to
assert his personal power.
see WORLD-WIDE, p. 10
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|;i:: ; #fl-:| ; |
Fill in the squares so that each row, column, and O
3- by- 3 box contain the numbers 1 through 9.
Figure out the encryption code to solve the puzzle
"VYQB YM VYUB F DYFIE. GTFO PEG
WBO EGO EQ YO XBDBIXM EI TEC PEG
9. NFL coach
14, Curved wall or ceiftng
15- Samoan musician Opetaia
17. Irish county and crystal manufacturer
19. Large auditorium
20. Afpaca's relative
25. Audio component, for short
29. Cause a stow absorption
33. Dorothy Gale's dog
35. Bad (prefix)
36. Incirlik Air Base (airport code)
41. Irish county, noted for its music
43. Irish novelist Adrian
" ;: :
V.: ; -: '. : -
46, Med. students group (abbr.)
48. Soccer star
49. Computer programming language
52. Quarterback, usually
54, Actress Durbin
56. Chinese surname
60. Fiddler oh the Roof star
68. Irish county, subject of a World War 1 song
70. Egyptian crosses
11, American Indian tribe
47. Irish poet Patrick
71. Snow vehicle
12. Masculine nickname
53. Poker bet
73. Editor's marks
55. Dark time
74. Actor Robert or Alan
75. Fashion magazine
24. Japanese surname
59. Mod, Mad, Mad, Mad World
26. Organic compounds
61. Decorative border
27. Famous Yankee
28. Game participant
2. Semiprecious stone
29. " in the Way," 1970s album title
64. Stringed instrument
3. Nick and Nora Charles's dog
30. Something boring and ponderous
31. Philippine city
66. Whole number (abbr.)
5. Power switch position
32. Decorative molding
67. out, obtain with difficulty
6. Area measurements
34. Law: V = IR
69. Pocket-steed computer (abbr.)
7. Irish boxer Coleman
8. Surface of a building
9. Symbol associated with St. Patrick's Day
40, Pelvic joints
42. Irish brewer Arthur
Puzzle by Jeff Richmond
solutions on page 11
Our heartfelt thanks to
our most recent donors:
VMT for the gift of a computer
Veronica Sanitate and Rissa Haynes for
Catherine Martin Buck for a filing cabinet
Lori Sipes for donating office supplies
Bethlehem Church for office space and the
ongoing support of their staff and
congregants, including a
^ Alethea Helbig
we wont Keep silent
Who made your bread? Wh
The ghosts of poverty, cf<
gathering hopes by m
and spending them j
Some poor keep
Some see with
Howling gets o
trading haze a
We won't kem
They want to
cover us ovet
We won't h
We gave bi
took off th
We are n
is open to all
Writing for publication demands
skills and craft. It also calls for a
good eye to see stories in your
community and visualize their
On Saturday, March 26, Ground-
cover will host a writer's workshop
to help contributors and anyone
in the community with these skills.
The workshop will be led by
Vickie Elmer, a freelance writer
whose articles appear in the Wash-
ington Post and Fortune and a for-
mer editor at Newsday and the
Detroit Free Press. Ann Arbor Ob-
server Editor John Hilton and
Groundcover Editor Laurie Louns-
bury and others will assist.
Participants will learn how to
seek out great stories, how to
sharpen their focus and how to
develop features and news stories
with clarity, color and fairness. The
workshop runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at
the First Baptist Church (517 E.
Washington St.) in Ann Arbor. An
optional lunch afterward will
allow the writers to continue their
Cost of the workshop is $20, with
all funds going to support
Groundcover. Writers who have
contributed two or more articles
to Groundcover or who promise
two future articles will be admit-
ted for free.
Pre-registration is required by
g a.m. to ip.m.
Saturday, March 26
first "Baptist Churchy JAnn JArBor
517 X. yvashington Street
January is Not long enough
It is hard to do the work of leaving,
so we turn up the music.
We play Barioni, "Nessun Dorma,"
and Bjorling and Nicolai Gedda,
Earlier we went room to room,
Picking through our belongings, sorting.
I found a container of toy cars you loved as a boy,
a black Ferrari and a black Murcielago.
You race them around the bedroom carpet, seven again, not 18,
open all the doors to show how they work, lift the hood, pretend the radio plays.
I found a wooden rattle and little purple felt mouse you stitched in school.
Georges Thill hits a high C and the note hangs in the air
touching every nerve in my shaking body.
We talk about language. The safety of words about words.
If I couldn't sing, I might break my own heart.
A friend said once, a person can live anywhere for a short time.
We are living in the air where Georges Thills voice soars,
over all this, over and through.
What will the new people hear after they claim the house?
Music leaking out of the walls in the shadows of early morning.
Arias in the shower, a soft murmur from the basement vents.
Jusse singing "O Helga Natt," or the sound often years
compressed into one last climbing scale.
When we shut the door, it will be music I hear,
Bizet, the last lines of La Boheme,
not a small voice saying "goodbye."
elevate our sorrow and we retreat to chairs.
Karen L. Totten
A haunting, now infamous, Nazi image has connection
to Ann Arbor family
By Martin Stolzenberg
Sometimes we don't know when we are being part of a
miracle, the wonder of humanity.
When our son Dan was three years old he had a hospital
visit. The diagnosis had been that he had to have his ton-
sils and adenoids removed. He went into Nyack General
Hospital in Nyack, New York a day early, to be prepped
for the procedure. It was a sweltering summer day; but
there was Danny, uncomfortable and frightened, in a hot
hospkal gown, with no air conditioning in an otherwise
Along came the pediatric surgeon who would be operating
the next day. He sized up the situation, telling the attend-
ing nurse, "Get this boy out of the gown. Give him his
own underpants. He doesn't need a top. Let's get some
fans in here to cool the place ofT. Give him some fluids."
Nice man, we thought. Danny was now more comfortable
and less upset. The operation went smoothly. Danny
went home in another day or two.
Fast forward 20 years. My wife Gale was teaching in an af-
ternoon religious school program. She was looking in a
catalog for some videos for her students to watch. There
she found a documentary about a young boy who had be-
come famous for being in a photo from World War II. It is
the one of a crowd of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto being
menaced by a German soldier with a submachine gun. A
little frightened boy is near the soldier. He stands out from
the rest of the crowd, because he is holding his arms up,
the universal sign of surrender.
The young boy held at gunpoint by Nazis in this infamous photo grew up to show kindness to Ann Arbor family
It was assumed the unknown boy had died in the Holo-
caust. Then, years later, a man came forward. He had seen
the photo, instandy remembering he was that boy. It was
verified. He had somehow escaped the carnage, been sent
to Israel, grew up there, and became a pediatric surgeon.
He immigrated to the U.S., practicing at Nyack General
Hospital. His name is Dr. Tzvi Nussbaum. The name of
the fdm about his life is: Tzvi Nussbaum: A Boy from
Of course, this is the same person who had been so kind
to Danny many years later. His life had come a full circle.
The boy frightened boy had grown up, choosing to be-
come a doctor, devoted to helping other frightened chil-
dren, and healing them.
A world-wide bike and hike trail led to Ann Arbor
continued from page 7
Similarly, on a bus trip to the Great Wall,
Glenn disembarked with the other passen-
gers when ordered to do so by the driver.
When he returned, all the other passengers
were already seated and ready to go. As he
reached for the door to ascend the steps,
the bus drivers shouted at him and raced
forward 50 feet. He walked to the bus and
the scenario was repeated several times be-
fore the driver allowed him back on the
Finally, his brother flew to New Zealand
with both their bikes and he finished his
Journey back in the saddle riding the entire
island north to south. Upon returning to
California, he developed golf and calendar
products for a while. Then he set his sights
on the health field, specifically homeopa-
thy, but needed a base training like chiro-
practic. He opted to train at the Five
Branches Institute and graduated with a
degree in acupuncture. During that time
he also met and married his wife who
hailed from Michigan.
He practiced acupuncture for three years
in California in the early 90s. Some of his
patients were dying of AIDS. "It is hard
mentally working with sick people, espe-
cially in alternative medicine with people
who have exhausted all other possibilities
and are terribly sick," Glenn remarks. His
wife was visiting family in Ann Arbor with
their young son and a job opportunity pre-
sented itself for her here.
They relocated and Glenn considered prac-
ticing acupuncture here. He was dissuaded
from doing so by another acupuncturist
who had recently been prosecuted for
practicing in Michigan where it was illegal
for anyone but MDs to practice acupunc-
ture (The practitioner escaped conviction
by claiming that acupuncture did nothing,
so he was not actually practicing medi-
Glenn did some construction work then
commuted to Chicago four days a week to
work as a trader on the options floor of
the Chicago Board of Exchange. The
grueling commute and absence from his
growing family did not suit him. His wife||
spotted an ad in the newspaper that By
The Pound was for sale and, despite a
total lack of experience in retail, they
bought it July 1, 1995.
Glenn found running a store to be hard
work, especially at first. Luckily, he foundl
Michael, a likeable British tea enthusiast
and talented amateur cook with a great
memory. He has been a very
valuable and trusted employee for many
years. A couple of friendly, dependable
part-time employees also help at the store,
and between the four of them they're able
to staff the extensive hours of Monday
through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00, p.m.,
Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Sun-
day, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
"I enjoy talking with my customers.
They're really interesting, and I think they
like the fact that the owner of the store is
the Pound owner stands in front of his shop located
South Main Street, next to Back Alley Gourmet
thy guy behind the counter. They also like
buying local, staying green, and saving on
packaging," Glenn muses. What he's
doing must work, since each of his 16
years has been better than the previous
one. He's been approached about expand-
ing and opening stores in other locations
but after all his peregrinations, Glenn is
satisfied exactly how things are. How green
is that, recognizing and choosing suffi-
YOU HEARD IT HERE
Write after Breakfast at St. Andrew's
by David KE Dodge
Dining! Music! Literature!
If you frequent The Breakfast at St. An-
drew's Church in Ann Arbor, you are prob-
ably aware that the nourishing breakfast is
occasionally accompanied by first-class live
piano music performed by fellow diners.
But there's another opportunity offered by
the church to participate in creativity: a
weekly gathering of breakfast patrons with
professionals from U of M, to engage in
writing, reading the writing, and offering
The gathering, called "Write After Break-
fast at St. Andrew's," also referred to as "the
(writers) workshop," was briefly described
in the Agency Spotlight segment in the
September issue of Groundcover News.
Like the breakfast, the writer's workshop is
open to everyone in the community.
The workshop meets on Tuesdays during
the U of M Fall and Winter terms, in one
of various rooms at St Andrews. After the
breakfast is over, at 8:30, the leaders of the
group gather with the other interested par-
ticipants and proceed to the assigned
room, and are given a topical word or read-
ing by the leaders. They then write for per-
haps 1 5 minutes to half an hour on the
prompt given or on a subject of their own
choosing. The participants read their cre-
ations and receive and give comments on
what was read. The sessions are usually fin-
ished by 10:00 a.m..
Write After Breakfast at St. Andrews was
modeled after the Holy Apostles Soup
Kitchen Writer's Workshop, in New York
City, which first convened around 1995.
Having learned of that workshop, the Rev.
Deacon Svea Gray at St. Andrews spoke to
Christine Modey at The Sweetland Center
for Writing at UM about starting such a
program at St. Andrew's, with leadership of
the meetings being provided by The Cen-
ter. Two professional writers, Charlotte
Boulay and Patrick O'Keeffe, rose to the
occasion. Thus began, in 2005, meetings
of the workshop at St. Andrews. The
workshop has continued since then meet
under the leadership of different profes-
sionals from U of M.
You say "I cant write." This much is for
sure - you won't write if you don't try. Give
yourself a chance, in an atmosphere of
friendly feedback. The next time you find
yourself at The Breakfast at St. Andrew^
on a Tuesday, wait around until 8:30, and
join the current leaders from UM, Court-
ney and George, along with we fellow writ-
ers, and go with us to the workshop. Paper
and pens are provided; just bring your cre-
ativity. Breakfast is optional.
from page 8
Solution: "Life is like a piano. What
you get out of it depends on how you
— Tom Lehrer
.. ..... ...
easy as ABC
Arbor Brewing Company,
known as ABC, welcomes
all comers to Wednesday
night Scrabble games,
played from 5 p.m. to 8
p.m., or as long as any
two players choose to
keep at it. Just proves
there's never a day
that's too good for
Near North development will earn a Gold LEED rating
continued from page 3
ment. Alongside the residential units, Near
North will include around 1,500 square
feet of office, and 2,700 square feet of
Near North initially violated the existing
zoning laws with regard to building's
height, density, as well as setback require-
ments, so exemptions were a necessity.
"We would have liked to build more,"
Godfrey said, "but there were some com-
promises that had to be struck with the
"If we could have built 48 units, our per-
unit costs would have been lower. It would
have been more efficient, we would have
served more low income households."
To qualify for the PUD exemption and re-
zoning, the developers needed to demon-
strate that the project offered "significant
public benefit." In the case of Near North
it was agreed that providing affordable
housing in the area met this criteria. After
a compromise was reached in September
2009, Ann Arbor City Council unani-
mously approved the zoning change and
cleared the way for Avalon to move for-
ward on the project.
The units at Near North will be reserved
for individuals earning between 30 to 50
percent below the area median income. In
Ann Arbor this translates into persons
earning less than $29,000 annually. The 14
units set aside as supportive housing are for
individuals earning less than $17,500. The
remaining 25 apartments will rent at the
near market rate of $774 monthly.
In January of last year, the Downtown De-
velopment Authority agreed to provide
$500,000 in funding with the stipulation
that Near North be built to high standards
of environmental design.
The flinders at DDA said that they would
inject $400,000 into the project if it at-
tained a minimum Silver LEED rating and
an additional $100,000 if it achieved a
Gold LEED rating. LEED stands for Lead-
ership in Energy and Environmental De-
sign; it's a third party verification and
construction standard, outlined by the
U.S. Green Building Council, that rates
how well buildings adhere to "green-build-
LEED looks at several indicators to meas-
ure the health of a building project, but
the four most important are: Energy effi-
ciency; materials and resources; water effi-
ciency; and sustainable site development.
"There's additional cost for building using
LEED," Godfrey said, "however there was
a lot of support for doing it. The flinders
really supported making the project as
green and sustainable as possible. It was
more than just encouragement; I think
they basically said, If you're going to do
this, we want you to use our money to
achieve LEED status."
Typically the increased costs of building
using LEED are offset by savings of energy
conserved over the life of a structure.
Building with LEED is generally viewed as
a sign that developers are investing in the
community, as opposed to building
quickly and selling off a property. There
are also tax incentives to encourage using
LEED. Avalon and Three Oaks said that
they expect the Near North buildings to
meet DDA's stipulation of earning a Gold
Because of Near North's green classifica-
tion, they'll also receive an additional
$250,000 from a community development
block grant through the U.S. Department
of Housing and Urban Development.
"This grant will help create a new genera-
tion of housing that will offer residents
more than just an affordable home,"
HUD s Assistant Secretary, Mercedes Mar-
quez said when she announced the award
last April. "Working with our partners at
the local level, our goal is to produce more,
smarter and certainly greener affordable
housing for future generations of families."
Alongside site development LEED credits,
Near North will receive just under $1.4
million in Brownfield and Energy Tax
Credits for removing soil contamination at
the site. According to a study by an area
engineering firm, the building site contains
unacceptably high levels of heavy metals
and other materials that pose risks for
drinking water contamination. The
Brownfield credits are also being leveraged
as another source of Near North's complex
The Near North partnership acknowledges
that building this project will be expensive.
At $ 1 5 million, per unit costs are obviously
high, somewhere between $200,000 and
$270,000 depending on how it's measured.
To many, spending these sums on a one-
bedroom apartment could seem impracti-
The question then becomes, can we meas-
ure the value of the community's diversity
in dollars and cents? How much richer are
our lives because of exposure to as wide a
perspective as possible? With all the com-
plications and arguments over the actual
costs of building Near North, measuring
the value of its benefit is an entirely differ-
ent, monumentally more difficult debate.
Bill Godfrey is deeply philosophical about
"If we capitulate to gentrification," God-
frey said, "then we give in to the idea that
our inner cities are going to be affluent en-
claves for people with means. Otherwise,
we should fight the fight and make sure we
can still keep a foothold for low income
residents in downtown Ann Arbor."